In addition to adjusting to life at a social distance, people who suffer the loss of a loved one must now face end-of-life arrangements with modified services from their chosen funeral home.
Mandated by Gov. Wolf to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, many businesses have been forced to shut their doors to comply with his order if they are classified as non-life-sustaining. Funeral homes are not in that category and are permitted to operate.
Jamey Meredith, owner of Bracken Funeral Home, of Corry, said the business is considered critical infrastructure by the federal government and is permitted to work a normal business schedule. Meredith said there will be reduced office hours, based on need.
At times when the staff is not in the office, an answering service will be available at the regular number, 814-664-7735, if people need to contact them.
Meredith said he and his staff have decided not to hold any public services. Visitations and funeral services will be held, but only for immediate family members.
“The loss of a loved one is never easy,” Meredith said. “Adding the worries of COVID-19 makes it even more difficult. We are doing everything possible to accommodate families the best we can, so they can grieve the loss of a loved one and yet still feel safe.”
Warren-Glenn Funeral Home in Union City, also adhering to CDC guidelines, is making visitations private and limiting them to 10 people or fewer in the facility at a time.
“We recognize the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak and are doing everything we can to keep our facility, staff and families we serve safe,” Amy Warren said.
Warren said the funeral home is maintaining its availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Those needing to contact the funeral home may call 814-438-3857 at any time and someone is there to answer.
Warren noted some cemeteries have restricted graveside services and only allow service workers to attend.
“This pandemic is very difficult for everyone, and losing a loved one during this time can be extremely difficult with the limitations we must as a community follow,” she said. “Hopefully with all of us working together, our communities will start to see some kind of normalcy in the coming weeks.”